‘Words can’t ex­press how much I miss him’

Barry Flow­ers and his me­mo­rial race

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - News - BY FLOYD SPRACKLIN SPE­CIAL TO THE LABRADO­RIAN

“The two days when Barry went miss­ing un­til his body was found were the long­est of my life. And the worst snow­storm Barry and his friend, Bur­ton Win­ters, and the en­tire com­mu­nity had seen in a very long time. It seems like a dream that I want to wake up and see him. I just ex­pect him to walk through the door with his happy smile.”

Trudy Flow­ers is still dev­as­tated at the loss of her only child that hor­ri­ble day.

Barry and his friend, Bur­ton Win­ters, were snow­mo­bil­ing back to Hopedale from Makkovik when they blew a pis­ton in the mid­dle of a ter­ri­ble win­ter storm not far out the bay from home. In spite of the nasty weather, the two young men opted to walk back.

Barry, who had a bad hip that would re­quire a re­place­ment when he was older, sug­gested that Bur­ton fol­low the wood path, while he walked on the solid sea ice. Af­ter part­ing ways, Barry must have be­come dis­ori­ented from the ground-drift­ing and ended up walk­ing away from and not to­ward home.

Search par­ties worked fran­ti­cally through­out the night un­til the blind­ing weather called a halt to their op­er­a­tions. The Mo­ra­vian Mission Church bells rang out in the hope of find­ing Barry.

Trudy says all the searchers and in par­tic­u­lar Dean Coombs, Hans Flow­ers, and Kevin Flow­ers are to be com­mended for risk­ing their own lives in an ef­fort to find Barry. But to no avail. Two days later at four in the morn­ing his Un­cle Greg Flow­ers, ac­com­pa­nied by his half-husky and full bor­der col­lie, found Barry, but sadly too late. Trudy was left child­less and in mourn­ing.

“Barry was a fun-lov­ing, help­ful, smart, car­ing young man,” Trudy said. “He would give any­one a help­ing hand when­ever he could and could al­ways be found work­ing away at odds and ends. He would do any­thing for me and his Nan and Gramp as well as his ex­tended fam­ily.”

Barry loved the out­doors, but he had very lit­tle time for school. Barry’s ac­tive life­style be­lied the fact that as a six year-old with a hip prob­lem he had to wear a brace for two years. No mat­ter what, he never let his phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tion hold him back. Trudy re­mem­bers lov­ingly, how much he en­joyed hunt­ing with his friends and cook­ing up a meal of their catch of the day.

“And he loved Ski-doos,” she said.

“He was a bril­liant young man who was all-in for hunt­ing, fish­ing, re­pair­ing Ski-doos and ATVs,” Amos Come­nius Me­mo­rial School prin­ci­pal Dean Coombs said. “He was a fun-lov­ing stu­dent whose pock­ets just might con­ceal a dead mouse, squir­rel, or even a lem­ming. Even though he didn’t care much for school, his bril­liance shone through when one time he took a Trap­pers’ Ed­u­ca­tion course in Goose Bay and scored 100 per cent.”

Trudy is a sin­gle Mom who spent many years in the Teach­ers’ Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram in Labrador (TEPL) where she and oth­ers would visit dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties to com­plete their re­quired cour­ses as well as at­tend semesters at Me­mo­rial Univer­sity.

She taught Pri­mary lev­els as well as a cou­ple of high school cour­ses and earned her de­gree in North­ern Ed­u­ca­tion from MUN. In all, she taught school for 32 years at Amos Come­nius Me­mo­rial School in Hopedale while the en­tire time her par­ents helped with Barry and en­sured she earned her ed­u­ca­tion de­gree.

There are many ways to hon­our or grieve a loved one. Trudy chose to re­mem­ber Barry through some­thing that he loved, snow­mo­bil­ing. In 2005, the year af­ter his tragic death, she es­tab­lished the Barry Flow­ers Me­mo­rial Snow­mo­bile Race.

Each year in ei­ther April or May when the weather con­di­tions are just right, Ian Win­ters, race or­ga­nizer, and fam­ily mem­bers check the ice for smooth­ness and ob­struc­tions for the high-speed race.

“When we first started the Barry race, it was just for men,” Trudy said. “A small num­ber of peo­ple came out to take part in the race as well as a few peo­ple from the com­mu­nity.”

Trudy says that as the race be­came more of an an­nual af­fair, there were more peo­ple in­volved. She alone has been pro­vid­ing the tro­phies each year for the first place male and fe­male. As time went by, Trudy, fam­ily, and friends fundraised to pro­vide cash prizes to ac­com­pany the hard­ware for the top-three fin­ish­ers along with smaller gifts like gas, hats and neck warm­ers.

The race has also been re­ceiv­ing a do­na­tion each year from the ka­mat­si­atet — one who watches over — Com­mit­tee, a group of Hopedale in­di­vid­u­als af­fil­i­ated with the Voisey Bay Nickel Com­pany and whose aim is to im­prove health and well­ness, re­cre­ation and the lo­cal econ­omy. Trudy thanks the k Com­mit­tee (as it is lo­cally known), Ian Win­ters, the peo­ple of Hopedale, and es­pe­cially Ruth and Eileen Flow­ers who all con­tinue to keep Barry’s mem­ory alive through what he loved do­ing – snow­mo­bil­ing on The Land with his friends.

Race or­ga­nizer, Ian Win­ters says this year’s event marked the 13th an­niver­sary, and af­ter a long wait, the race was run un­der per­fect con­di­tions and with a good turnout.

“The race varies from year to year de­pend­ing on ice con­di­tions,” Win­ters said. “Some years it’s big­ger than oth­ers in terms of par­tic­i­pa­tion and fans.”

In May of 2018 those num­bers were down be­cause of the grad­ual thaw and the long wait for ideal con­di­tions. This year the k Com­mit­tee and fam­ily mem­bers raised suf­fi­cient funds to sup­port the top three rac­ing prizes in each of the men’s and women’s cat­e­gories: first place, $250, sec­ond, $100, and third, $50.

For the past four years Trudy has kept her­self busy by work­ing at the Na­tive Friend­ship Cen­tre in St. John’s. The Cen­tre’s mission is to serve the In­dige­nous and broader com­mu­nity through cel­e­bra­tion and sup­port of In­dige­nous cul­ture and the pro­vi­sion of ap­pro­pri­ate pro­grams and ser­vices de­liv­ered in an at­mos­phere of trust, re­spect and friend­ship.

Trudy teaches a craft course and shares her tra­di­tional skills with oth­ers and says what she re­ally likes about her job is, get­ting to see peo­ple from along the north coast, and es­pe­cially those from her home­town of Hopedale.

Barry had loved The Land, will­ingly watched over oth­ers, and en­dured be­yond his body’s nor­mal lim­its as his an­ces­tors had. It is no won­der that in his ab­bre­vi­ated life Barry’s de­scen­dancy from the Flow­ers of Flow­ers’ Bay and later Nain had led him down a sim­i­lar path.

Trudy says, “There are no words to ex­press how much I miss him and how much he was loved, and taken away too soon.”

COURTESY OF TRUDY FLOW­ERS

Barry Flow­ers: June 5, 1984 - Feb. 16, 2004.

SUB­MIT­TED

First place win­ner of the 2017 Barry Flow­ers Me­mo­rial Snow­mo­bile Race, Inez Vin­cent.

PHOTO COURTESY OF JIL­LIAN MITSUK

2012 race win­ners.

SUB­MIT­TED

Trudy Flow­ers

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